Conservation: More focus on saving threatened wildlife
SEE ALSO :Wetlands conservation agenda“The Last Male Standing. The Most Eligible Bachelor. These are some of the affectionate epitaphs that were bestowed on Sudan. Born in the wild in Sudan in 1973, Sudan has subsequently evolved into a legend – in part due to his status as the last male member of a rhino species,” Ol Pejeta conservancy noted in the eulogy that drew attention of conservationists across the world. Poaching crisis In April 2017, Sudan made headlines as the most ‘eligible bachelor in the world’, when Tinder, together with Ogilvy Africa, featured him on the dating app as part of a huge fundraising campaign. The $85,000 raised was meant to support rhino propagation and rehabilitation. Even as Sudan was laid to rest in the rhino cemetery within the conservancy created to document and raise awareness on the dangers of poaching, one could still sense the dangers of poaching even within the highly-guarded Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The year also saw the death of 12 black rhinos following a botched translocation despite the conservation efforts that had seen the numbers doubling after 35 years.
SEE ALSO :County criticised over Kibarani siteThe remaining two northern white rhinos in the world are females that are not able to breed naturally, a move that continue to draw fears of extinction across the world. Najin is 28 and has weak knees, meaning she can neither bear the weight of a mounting male nor that of pregnancy while and her daughter Fatu is 18 and too, has weak knees and a uterine disorder, a situation that cannot allow for the embryo to be implanted successfully. Currently, the scientists have come together to use In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) as the last resort to saving the species from extinction. The scientists are planning to extract eggs from the two female northern whites and by using advanced reproductive techniques, including stem cell technology and IVF, create embryos that could be carried to term by surrogate rhino mothers. “We expect the process to begin sooner once everything is set,” said Mr Mutisya. The semen from northern white rhinos have long been collected and are being kept in specialised laboratories in Italy. The procedure of collecting eggs, he said, will be a unique one where a team of specialists will conduct and thereafter the eggs will be flown within 24 hours to be stored in the specialised laboratories in Italy. Although the scientists are hopeful, challenges are still expected. As memoir, a film featuring Sudan will be launched in 2019, as part of raising awareness on the plight of Critically Endangered species and also raise awareness on dangers of poaching. “Despite his later inability to breed, there is no denying that he now goes down as the most prolific rhino ambassador in history. Sudan’s story has been chronicled in movies, documentaries, news feature segments and innumerable other media platforms. Even before he made his debut on Tinder, this gentle unassuming creature was beloved by the thousands of visitors who trooped from all over the world to meet him,” the tribute read.